UK woman's gang rape case to be reviewed by Cyprus police

UK woman's gang rape case to be reviewed by Cyprus police
Police in Cyprus will seek to determine if mistakes were made during the investigation in to the gang rape of a young British girl.
2 min read
02 February, 2022
The women accused a group of Israeli tourists [Getty]

Cyprus police said Wednesday they would review whether mistakes were made after a young British woman was cleared of falsely claiming she was gang-raped by 12 Israeli tourists in 2019.

On Monday, the Cyprus Supreme Court quashed the conviction against the woman, who had been found guilty of public mischief after her rape accusation.

The woman, now aged 21 and not publicly identified, had in July 2019 told police she had been raped by the Israeli tourists, aged 15 to 22, in a hotel room in the Mediterranean island's party resort town of Ayia Napa.

Aged 19 at the time of her arrest, she was charged after she retracted her initial complaint, but later said she had been pressured to do so by local police in lengthy questioning without a lawyer or translator present.

Cypriot police spokesperson Christos Andreou told state broadcaster CyBC on Wednesday that the authorities are studying the court decision.

He said the police were "not infallible", but they did follow procedures outlined by the courts.

Andreou said the police would examine whether "mistakes or omissions" had been made during the case investigation.

Defence lawyers successfully argued on Monday that there had been a miscarriage of justice when a district court in January 2020 found her guilty and handed her a suspended four-month jail term.

The Supreme Court said the young woman was put through a trial process that was "manifestly unfair".

"A 19-year-old was summoned to the police station in the afternoon for additional testimony as a complainant, only to be questioned as a suspect six hours later, that is after midnight," it said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by Justice Abroad, lawyer Michael Polak, who coordinated the appeal against the woman's conviction, called for the case to be reopened and demanded an inquiry into what went wrong.

"The Supreme Court's strong stance as to the numerous failings requires an inquiry as to how the police and trial court managed to get things so wrong," said Polak.

"We hope that the Cypriot authorities will also take the initiative and transfer the matter to a different police force for a proper investigation to take place, which is their legal duty."